Gloucester Township schools terminate vendor contract

Move comes after vendors' employee arrested on pornography charges

MATTHEW SHINKLE/The Sun

The Gloucester Township board of education met for its monthly session Sept. 21 at Ann A. Mullen Middle School and approved new vendors for HVAC and electrical services.

The move followed a police investigation that resulted in the arrest of an employee of the district vendor that had provided those services. According to a release by the township police department earlier this month, staff at Glen Landing Middle School discovered mirrors had been installed on the interior doors of stalls in one of the school’s female bathrooms.

Staff members became suspicious that someone was peering through an air conditioning vent on top of the bathroom stalls, according to the release, and they contacted local authorities.

Following an investigation, 51-year-old Gregory Mahley of West Deptford was initially charged with one count of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing of Child Pornography), one count of third-degree Invasion of Privacy and one count of third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography).

More charges were added following a raid of Mahley’s home that showed he had additional pornographic videos on a tablet there,   police said. Mahley was an eight-year employee of Multi Temp Mechanical.

The board passed a resolution at the meeting to terminate Multi Temp Mechanical’s contract for electrical installation and repair services and for refrigeration maintenance and repair services, due to “good cause,” according to the agenda.

The district then approved service contracts with McCloskey Mechanical Contractors and Northeast Mechanical Services for the current school year to replace Multi Temp.

During public comment, resident Dena Hendry addressed what she felt was poor communication from the district in recent months. Hendry said she wrote an email to the district in July regarding various concerns about students returning in any fashion for in-person instruction.

She emailed school Superintendent John Bilodeau with her concerns and spoke with him during the board’s August meeting. Hendry was assured of a reply to her concerns, but two months later, she is still waiting.

“As of today I still have not received a reply back; that is unsatisfactory,” Hendry said.

Following the board meeting, Bilodeau told The Sun he had received Hendry’s email and replied with responses, but that it went to the wrong email due to a typo. The superintendent said he replied to the resident with answers regarding questions and concerns the day after the meeting.

Hendry also feels the district should hold the meetings in a hybrid fashion, with a livestream feature to allow more parents and community members to attend meetings if they don’t feel comfortable going to an in-person session because of COVID-19.

Board President Mary Jo Dintino stated that the board had planned to meet psychically during the school year if students were going to school for in-person instruction, and that the allotted 40 seats for audience members is set by the government due to capacity restrictions. But Hendry insisted that shouldn’t limit the board’s ability to record the meeting in some fashion.

Later in the session, board member Jennifer O’Donnell said she agrees with residents’ concerns regarding livestreamed meetings.  She called for the district to record meetings before she was voted to serve on the board.

“One of the things I’ve begged for is livestreamed meetings, so I still agree with you and I would love, now that we’ve proved that we can actually do it and reach the entire family, I agree that that should be done as well,” said O’Donnell.

The board’s next meeting is Monday, Oct. 26, again at Mullen Middle School.